Opioids are highly addictive narcotic medications that work in the brain to help relieve pain. These substances bind to the opioid receptors in the brain to depress the central nervous system. Opioids tell your body that you are not really in pain. When taken, they produce a sense of calm, relaxation, and euphoria. The National Institute of Health says:
Opioid use disorder is the chronic use of opioids that causes clinically significant distress or impairment. Opioid use disorders affect over 16 million people worldwide, over 2.1 million in the United States, and there are over 120,000 deaths worldwide annually attributed to opioids. There are as many patients using opioids regularly as there are patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, psoriatic arthritis, and epilepsy in the United States. Opioid use disorder diagnosis is based on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 and includes a desire to obtain and take opioids despite social and professional consequences. Examples of opioids include heroin, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids such as oxycodone. Opioid use disorder consists of an overpowering desire to use opioids, increased opioid tolerance, and withdrawal syndrome when discontinued. (NIH)
Opioid use disorder is a chronic lifelong disorder. As stated above, as outlined in the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition), opioid use disorder is a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to problems or distress. Like substance use disorder, opioid use disorder has a set list of criteria that define it. If a person has at least two of the eleven criteria in 12 months, they are diagnosed with opioid use disorder.
Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders
With the current opioid epidemic that this country is experiencing, there are now several different forms of treatment available for those who suffer from opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment using medications like Suboxone, Subutex, or Methadone has helped a lot of people in their recovery. For some people, trying to detox completely off of opioids is risky and could be even potentially dangerous. Relapse is possible and after someone has completely detoxed, if they were to go back out and relapse, they are at a much greater risk of overdose or overdose death. When getting treatment for any substance use or addiction, it is important to focus on individualized treatment. What works for one person may not be effective for another; there are options.
What Are the Side-Effects of Opioid Addiction?
Opioids carry several different side-effects with use, especially long-term use. One of the most worrisome side-effects of long-term use is the withdrawal symptoms that come if a person abruptly stops taking the drug. The withdrawal symptoms alone are what keep a lot of people addicted to and using opioids long-term. However, let’s look at some of the most common short-term side effects of opioids first.
- Mental fog
- Slowed breathing
- Physical dependence and addiction
If someone has been diagnosed with opioid use disorder, this means they have been using opioids for a long period. At this point, they have already reached the dependence and addiction stage. As we’ve already stated above, the number one side-effect of long-term opioid use is withdrawal. Over time, taking opioids chronically can also cause:
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic fatigue
- Problems with sleep
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Urinary retention
- Loss of appetite
- Sexual dysfunction
- Adrenal fatigue
- Withdrawal symptoms
Chronic opioid use can cause several debilitating side-effects. Thankfully there are several treatment options now available that include opioid detox and an addiction treatment program.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction issue, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness assists men, women, and families throughout the United States that are struggling with substance abuse and are searching for addiction treatment. We can help you get on the road to long-lasting recovery. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Call us today to learn about our opioid addiction treatment programs.